West Papua Special Autonomy Law- From Rejection, Revise, To Welcome

West Papua Special Autonomy Law- From Rejection, Revise, To Welcome

Special autonomy or admission by Indonesia is destined to provide additional protection compared to normal Indonesian administration. The autonomy itself has been implemented in some parts of Indonesia regions, including West Papua. However, the history of the law itself is never been easy. The government needs to face rejection, revision, and eventually welcome.

The Start Of Special Autonomy Law

First enacted in 2001, the Special Autonomy Law was offered by the Megawati government. It was an effort to substitute the self-determination described in resolution 1541 by the UN. Self-determination was a globally agreed course to determine the sovereignty of foreign and subordinated peoples and nations. However, it was filled with many rejections and issues.

There are contradictions upon one to another, especially how the special law is stronger than presidential instruction. President Megawati eventually issued presidential instruction to divide Papua into three separate provinces. Again, the instruction was somehow still legally problematic. During that time, the law states that the policy should be approved by MRP.

MRP is the Papuan people’s committee, which comes into existence after long delays. The council eventually reach realization during the SBY government. During SBY or Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono government, there is a plan to create another four provinces, which was later considered as a separate effort and seen as a case of Divide and rule.

Rejections And Issues

West Papua’s rejection of the special autonomy has been going on since the beginning of the establishment. In 2005, the territory locals reject and presented a coffin to show the refusal. The rallies of rejection continue and happen again during June and July 2010. Protests upon rejections happen for a long time, demanding honest dialogue with Jakarta.

Even after years of implementation, indigenous people of West Papua still appear with the rejection of the special autonomy (Otsus). During the first implementation, the Otsus will be valid for 20 years, which means ended in 2021. As the transfer of fun ended in 2021, there is a need for revision and continuation that later gains more denial.

The issues mainly highlight the distrust of the government and implementation. Locals pinpoint some problems, including racism toward indigenous, rights abuse, military operation, land grabbing, economic, and social inequality in Papua. National Development Planning Agency also noted some imbalance in west Papua funding.

The agency highlights that despite owning a hefty US$7.4 billion Otsus funds to develop Papua’s economy, the province still shows lacking growth progress. The data shows that the island of Papua is still home to 6,000 underdeveloped villages. Indonesian Statistics Indonesia (BPS) also recorded that the island has the lowest human development index in the country.

The Revision For Better Autonomy Law

Despite the raging rejection from the grassroots communities across the land, but Indonesian government pinpoints several improvements and achievements of the enactment. For better uses, the government purpose revision and highlighting the new-enacted bill. There is also a plenary discussion of the second amendment to the new law.

The new law and revision were a joint effort and commitment from the central government, regional representative (DPD), and house of representative (DPR). The goal is to bring equal planning for west Papua and Papua for better welfare as an integral part of the Indonesian nation. The working meeting eventually highlight three main frameworks.

First framework pinpoint affirmation of politics, which provides fair deal and spots for local as part of the DPRK or Municipal People’s Representative Council. The second one is to represent the government position that stands to boost the local economy. The third one is to improve governance. So special autonomy can be successfully implemented in Papua province.

Some changes help pinpoint land development in many sectors. It includes creating a master plan or grand design for the growth. The second change is dividing the general uses, block grants, and performance-specific assistance of Otsus for effective funding. Lastly is about the distribution mechanism of the Otsus fund.

A Welcome From Local

Talking Indonesia: Papua and special autonomy - Indonesia at Melbourne

Long deliberation by DPR of the Otsus bill eventually lead to amending the law mainly to boost the region’s development. It also mentioned in July 2021 that Dominggus Mandarin the government of West Papua receive the revised Papua Special autonomy. He also specified that the law was part of the milestone for sustainable growth and promoting local prosperity.

As mentioned by Dominggus, the new law offers more room for natives to get involved in politics, government, and development plans. Fortunately, DPRP or Papua legislative council also welcome the new-enacted bill of Otsus. Despite how Otsus previously forced its way to locals, it also bring significant funds to flow into the West Papua and Papua’s development.

Special autonomy law itself gives additional protection for locals and the region altogether. While there are many problems and issues in the initial implementation, the government and locals constantly revise the law for a better one. It also includes local’s opinions, aspirations, and needs. Thus, in 2021 the law has now been extended for another 20 years.